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Michael Gothard
Born Michael Alan Gothard
24 June 1939(1939-06-24)
London, England, United Kingdom
Died 2 December 1992 (aged 53)
Hampstead, London, England
Years active 1966-1992

Michael Alan Gothard (24 June 1939 – 2 December 1992) was an English actor, best remembered for the television series Arthur of the Britons and for his role as the mysterious villain Emile Leopold Locque, in the 1981 James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only.




Early life

Michael Gothard was born in London in 1939. After leaving school, he travelled around Europe with little idea of what he wanted to do with his life. He went through various jobs, including being a building labourer. He lived in Paris for a year on Boulevard St Michel in the Latin Quarter. He even had a brief spell as a clothes' model, but he never felt comfortable doing that job. On his return to England, at the age of 21, he decided to become an actor.


He joined the New Arts Theatre as a scenery mover, and became part of an amateur film a friend was making. After landing the lead role, he was encouraged to take up the profession. He attended evening classes at an actors workshop whilst holding down a day job. Few people know that Michael was involved in starting some of the first "Lunchtime theatre" productions in the 60's, usually held in pub cellars. His first television role was in an episode of Out of the Unknown in 1966 called "The Machine Stops". He was then cast in Don Levy's film Herostratus in 1967 and Up the Junction in 1968. He then acquired a female following after taking a role as the villainous Mordaunt in the BBC's adaptation of Twenty Years After (Further Adventures of the Musketeers).

One of his most notable film appearances was Ken Russell's 1971 horror, The Devils, in which Gothard had a stand-out role as a fanatic witch-hunter and exorcist who defiles Vanessa Redgrave and tortures Oliver Reed. He also played real-life assassin John Felton in Richard Lester's 1973 film of The Three Musketeers, another picture in which Oliver Reed appeared.

He had a regular role as Kai opposite Oliver Tobias's Arthur on the aforementioned Arthur of the Britons during the early 1970s. He became known to a wider cinema audience for his menacing turn as the villainous henchman, Emile Leopold Locque, in the 1981 James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only. His later appearances included supporting roles in Tobe Hooper's 1985 science-fiction horror extravaganza, Lifeforce, and as George Lusk in the 1988 TV movie, Jack the Ripper, with Michael Caine. His last few roles were in Christopher Columbus: The Discovery in 1992, where he briefly acted opposite screen legend Marlon Brando. It was directed by his For Your Eyes Only director John Glen, but was a box office failure. The final role was in David Wickes's Frankenstein, starring Patrick Bergin and Randy Quaid. Shortly after this, he took his own life, aged 53.

Personal life and Death

Michael lived in Hampstead at the time of his death and had never married. Gothard suffered from severe depression toward the end of his life; although not much is known about the details. He committed suicide by hanging, at his home, in 1992. Coincidentally, Jill Bennett, who had also appeared in For Your Eyes Only, committed suicide only two years earlier.



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